Feedback from our readers

Strong mayor weak

About the strong-mayor form of government currently being proposed by a coalition of the biggest campaign contributors in San Diego-some reasons for opposition:

In the March 27 Union-Tribune article that dealt with the subject, former San Diego City Manager John Lockwood is quoted as saying, "Wealthy campaign contributors would have too much power over city government. They would only need to gain influence with one person instead of the mayor and eight council members."

And the last time this proposal was floated, former City Attorney John Witt wrote, "Historically, corrupt city governments-those which exist to serve the interests of political supporters-usually are found in cities having governments looking suspiciously like strong-mayor forms."

Governing Magazine is a trade publication that analyzes local governments in the United States. Its ratings of efficient cities were published in 2000. One city got an A: Phoenix. It is city manager governed. One city got an A-minus: Austin, also city manager governed. The two lowest rated cities were Buffalo and New Orleans, both strong-mayor governed

Mel Shapiro,
University Heights

Piss-poor crony crap

The "Great Demo Review Session" in the March 31 local-music issue was a loathsome display of journalistic sloth, brown-nosing and cronyism.

Way back in mid-February, CityBeat began polling San Diego for talent, imploring local bands for their demos. And you received more than 200 submissions. Despite this diverse and enthusiastic response, you decided to review two discs from the same artist on two occasions. Particularly disturbing was your decision to offer two glowing reviews of the same disc, Anya Marina"š an exercise in racketeering. This might be understandable had the critics offered differing outlooks, but they instead combined to kiss Anya's ass over the course of 200 words. Since you had plenty of time and a wealth of submissions, these types of errors are unacceptable.

One might argue that your critics were overworked; and, certainly, it looks as if Caley Cook, Loren Graves and Scoop Stevens burnt plenty of midnight oil putting together the bulk of your reviews. Perhaps you should have had calendar editor Will K. Shilling compose more than his one review, a suspiciously laudatory piece on Blizzard's Second to No One. The piece reads more like a motivational speech than a critical review, concluding with Shilling advising the band to "go big, go far... you'll thank yourselves-and me-for it." Not exactly the model of objectivity.

Finally, there were the 15 (not 16, as your introduction states) bands deemed "EXTRASPECIALGOOD." These were acts that you advised readers to actively seek out and support. Of these 15 "gems" that you came across in your demo-review session, nearly half (seven, to be exact) received fawning reviews from arts and entertainment editor Troy Johnson. My supposition is that your "EXTRASPECIALGOOD" bands were predetermined, selected long before you petitioned San Diego's musicians for demos.

What seemed to be a chance for up-and-coming acts was perverted into a platform for Mr. Johnson and Mr. Shilling to advertise acts that they liked.

Mr. Johnson's lax editing, evidenced by his inability to count his own large "EXTRASPECIALGOOD" displays, permitted two similar reviews for the same act to run consecutively. CityBeat is usually a great read, but the local-music issue was a piss-poor piece of crony crap.

Neil Crawford,
Ocean Beach

Getting some

Thank you very much for reviewing our EP Get Some in your issue on local bands. We dig the review and appreciate that you took the time to listen to it. It's refreshing to see that there is an actual acknowledgement of lesser-known bands in San Diego by a well-respected alternative paper. Thanks again for considering us.

San Diego

The happy Christians

Thank you for sharing your insight on which San Diego bands are the Jesus flock of rock ["Sordid Tales," March 31]. This has saved me many future disappointments of making these realizations at a live show.

I am so tired of this Prozac-induced, happy-Christian movement and the big Jesus blow-pop bandwagon of plastic smiles and hollow grins that follow behind it. It's like Jesus is the new orange and people can't get enough of being told what to do. From the looks of it, Jesus pays the bills, too-not to mention the mansions, the cars and the domestically financed foreign-fought wars in his name.

Didn't somebody once say, "˜Thou shall not kill'? Hmmm... I wonder if our Christian commander in chief ever happened to read that one.

I'm sure this letter will strengthen the Christian "resolve" and inspire many to go out and do more of "God's work," and I applaud them for their efforts to do good. Lead by the example of kind actions-your words give me a headache and your narrow perspectives question the notion of human intelligence and bolster the growing numbers in the knee-jerk nation of stupidity.

By the way, I am a longtime fan of Switchfoot and I do pretend they are really singing about bitches and hos in order to get through the day.

H. Celine,

Gotta stop generalizing

The characterization that inland North County, particularly Fallbrook, Temecula and Lake Ellsinore, are "bigoted," "white-supremacist sympathizing" and "with a tiny-minded racist scumbag element" is quite a bold statement ["Sordid Tales," April 7]. Maybe if the dumb-fuck writer wasn't hanging out in shit-hole bars, but instead getting a chance to know the community, he'd have realized his sensationalism and generalizations of the area are quite a leap. You can find bad elements in any area, and I happen to know for a fact that Ocean Beach isn't any different.

Rob Tognoli,
La Jolla

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